Election Commission shows it has spine

The poll panel has faced a couple of challenges in the past few months – and has come off with flying colours

GN Bureau | August 18, 2017


#election commission of India   #elections   #ECI  


The election commission has become increasingly assertive in the past few months, showing its mettle in times of electoral challenges.
 
Weeks after rooting from EVMs and just days after the poll panel declared votes cast by two rebel Congress legislators in the Rajya Sabha election as invalid, election commissioner OP Rawat made a scathing comment on Thursday.
 
“Democracy thrives when elections are free, fair and transparent. However, it appears to a cynical common man that we have been scripting a narrative that places maximum premium on winning at all costs — to the exclusion of ethical considerations,” Rawat said at the ‘Consultation on Electoral and Political Reforms’ organised by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR).
 
Rawat fell like a tonne of bricks on the politicians who lack scruples. “In this narrative, poaching of legislators is extolled as smart political management; strategic introduction of money for allurement, tough-minded use of state machinery for intimidation etc. are all commended as resourcefulness. The winner can commit no sin; a defector crossing over to the ruling camp stands cleansed of all the guilt as also possible criminality. It is this creeping ‘new normal’ of political morality that should be the target for exemplary action by all political parties, politicians, media, civil society organisations, constitutional authorities and all those having faith in democratic polity for better election, a better tomorrow,” added Rawat. 
 
The election commission was put to test in Gujarat during the Rajya Sabha polls.
 
Congress lost six MLAs to the BJP, prompting the party to whisk away its remaining 44 legislators to a resort in Karnataka. Congress candidate Ahmed Patel faced a huge challenge.
 
The Congress sought election commission’s protection after the Income Tax department carried out raids at the premises linked to Karnataka energy minister D K Shivakumar who was coordinating the stay of the Congress MLAs from Gujarat.
 
On the election day, Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil alleged that Bholabhai Gohil and Raghavjibhai Patel had showed their ballots to BJP party president Amit Shah.
 
Leaders from both parties rushed to the election, which went by the book and invoked Article 324 of the Constitution to revoke the decision of its Returning Officer (RO) in the state and declared invalid the votes cast by two rebel Congress MLAs in favour of the BJP candidate. Ahmed Patel of the Congress scraped through.
 
Till hours before the decision came, there were numerous tweets that claimed that the poll panel is under pressure from the government and they predicted that the decision will go in favour of the BJP. Nothing of that sort happened and the election commission showed it carries out its work independently.
 
Even during the brouhaha raised by the Aam Aadmi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party who claimed that the electronic voting machines were not tamper-proof, the election commission was unmoved and quite categorical that the EVMs can’t be tampered with.
 
Maintaining “unequivocally” that the electronic voting machines (EVMs) cannot be tampered with, the Election Commission said the integrity of the electoral process had been “preserved”. “These are as tamper proof as ever,” the poll panel said in a statement.
 
The election commission put to rest any doubts about the EVMS, saying the machine is electronically protected to prevent any tampering/manipulation. The programme (software) used in these machines is burnt into a One Time Programmable (OTP)/Masked chip so that it cannot be altered or tampered with. Further these machines are not networked either by wire or by wireless to any other machine or system. Therefore, there is no possibility of its data corruption.
 
The commission has put in place an elaborate administrative system of security measures and procedural checks-and-balances aimed at prevention of any possible misuse or procedural lapses. These safeguards are implemented by ECI transparently with the active and documented involvement of political parties, candidates and their representatives at every stage to build their confidence on efficacy and reliability of EVMs, said a PIB release
 
Not content by just issuing statements, the election commission went a step ahead and decided to hold an EVM challenge, akin to a hackathon.
 
It was a challenge that was open to the political parties. But, it proved to be a damp squib.
 
Neither Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) nor Communist Party of India (Marxist), the two parties which had registered as challengers, went ahead with attempting to hack the EVMs.
 
This effectively means that the Election Commission’s EVM challenge, which was open to 7 national parties and 49 state parties, went unchallenged and would help the poll watchdog cement its claims that the EVMs under administrative and technical safeguards are non-tamperable, reported The Mint.
 
The election commission has shown what it is made up of and is clearly not to be pushed around.
 
 
 

Comments

 

Other News

“But for Nehru’s non-alignment, India would’ve been where China is today”

Dark Secrets: Politics, Intrigue and Proxy Wars in Kashmir By Iqbal Chand Malhotra Bloomsbury, 277 pages With his latest work, ‘Dark Secrets’, scholar and media personality Iqbal Chand Malhotra continues the investigation he began with

Maharashtra schools to reopen on January 24

Maharashtra has announced the reopening of schools for classes 1-12 from January 24 with Covid protocols. Education minister Varsha Gaikwad said on Thursday that the government will reopen schools for classes 1-12th with Covid protocols from January 24. “We have also decided to open p

No irregularly in appointment of engineer: BMC counters BJP MLA

The BrihanMumbai municipal corporation (BMC) has rejected BJP MLA Ameet Satam’s demand in a letter to BMC commissioner Iqbal Chahal to cancel the appointment of Sunil Rathod, deputy chief engineer, building and proposal department, western suburbs, for getting caught red-handed accepting bribe by ACB

Cast your vote, not vote for caste

Once the schedule for the next assembly elections has been announced, there is a flurry of activity around building caste coalitions. This is more intense in the most populous state,  Uttar Pradesh, which is the most important state in India in any election, in view of its large population estimated a

Maharashtra cities dominate Smart Cities Mission #Streets4People Challenge

In a competition organised by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Pune, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Nagpur and Aurangabad from Maharashtra are among the 11 cities selected for scaling up their pilot projects and creating permanent public infrastructure. #Streets4People Challenge was org

CNC, Admiral R Hari Kumar condoles deaths of three navy personnel

The three Navy personnel who succumbed to injuries caused by an explosion on board Indian Navy`s destroyer ship INS Ranvir have been identified as Krishan Kumar MCPO (master petty chief officer)I, Surinder Kumar MCPO II & AK Singh MCPO II. In a condolence message, Admiral R Hari Kumar s

Visionary Talk: Farmer`s Agitation, Rakesh Tikait with Kailashnath Adhikari


Archives

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter